As many of you may know, Quidditch is a beloved competitive sport in the fictional world of Harry Potter. The characters sit on broomsticks and fly around, throwing, catching, and batting various balls around a large pitch. There’s even a World Cup and everything!
Did you know that Harry Potter fans have found a way to play the game in real life as well? Malaysia itself has more than a few active teams! We also have a Malaysian national Quidditch team, who recently took part in the World Cup and reached the 18th spot! Not bad for first-timers, huh?
That being said, this article is for all you Harry Potter enthusiasts who have dreamed of playing Quidditch ever since the very first book. Because of the level of technology (or magic) we have, we can’t offer you the chance to fly around but we can teach you a thing or two about how to play the real-life version of the game, which is no less fun and 100% achievable.
However, it is also worth noting that knowledge about Harry Potter is not at all required to play or enjoy the game. So this article is also for anyone who just curious and want to try out an interesting sport.
So let’s go over the basics of Quidditch in real life.
1. The Pitch
Source: Daily Mail
In the Harry Potter books and movies, the game is played in a pitch with 3 rings on poles, up in the sky. So the real life equivalent aims to replicate this look by playing the game on a grass field.
The pitch is about 60 yards by 36 yards. There are 3 hoops of different sizes. The corners are curved like in a hockey rink, and there is a special zone for the Keeper. There’s also a penalty box for you to hangout in, if you feel like breaking any rules.
2. The Gear
Quidditch teams around the world have found real-life analogues for all of the balls in the game. Though they don’t fly on their own, they are different enough to be recognizable amd have different uses.
As some of you may know, the 5 balls active during a game of quidditch are the Quaffle, 3 Bludgers, and the elusive Golden Snitch. In real life, the Quaffle is a volleyball, the Bludgers are dodgeballs, and the role of the Snitch is played by a tennis ball.
The next most important aspect of the game are the ‘broomsticks’. The broomsticks can be anything from a PVC pipe to official [or unofficial] merchandise to pieces of wood. That last one is not advised.
The broom functions as a handicap and must be kept between the player’s legs at all times, either held by their hands or thighs. Players can’t hit each other with the brooms as well.
3. The Team
Photo Credit: KS Goh
Just like in other sports, there are a few positions on the team and we will go over them here. They all have different roles to play and require different kind of skills and mentalities.This is the most wordy and complicated part of this write-up so let’s just get right into it.
The first position is the Keeper, who hears a green headband. There is one of them and their role is to safeguard the 3 hoops so the other team cannot throw a Quaffle in and score a point. They don’t always have to stay in one place though and can sometimes take to the field and even assist in scoring a point or two.
The next position is the Chaser, who wears a white headband. There are three of them and their role is to pass around the Quaffle, get past the opposing keeper and shoot into their hoops. This scores points. You need to be able to catch well, and have the stamina and endurance needed to run up and down the pitch.
Then come the two Beaters, identifiable by their black headbands. Their job is to hit the opposing team’s players with the Bludger and to catch or block the Bludgers aimed at their own team. If you want to be a Beater, it’s time to start practicing your aim, aggressiveness, and awareness of your surroundings.
The last position on any team is the Seeker, which used to be Harry Potter’s position. In the real game, the Seeker has a golden headband and has the task of catching the Golden Snitch to end the game. To be a Seeker, you need to have a lot of endurance to keep chasing the Snitch.
There is one more player in a game of quidditch and that’s the Golden Snitch itself. In the fictional world of Harry Potter, the Snitch can fly around on its own and disappear from time to time. But the real world version of the Snitch is a person dressed in yellow who has a sock with a tennis ball inside it tied to their back. Their role is to run around and do all they can to prevent the Seekers from either team from getting their hands on the ball tied behind them. Oh, and the Seekers need to get the tennis ball without touching the player who is the Snitch.
4. The Rules
The game has a few rules worth noting. First is an obvious one; the team with the most points wins.
There are two ways to score points. One is for the Chasers to throw the Quaffle through any of the hoop, which are guarded by a Keeper. This scores 10 points. The other is for the Seeker to get the Snitch, which scores 30 points and ends the game.
The match starts with the Quaffle and three Bludgers line up in the middle of the pitch. Both teams run towards the balls when the game begins. If a point is scored, the Keeper of the team it was scored against takes the Quaffle and the game resumes from there.
The Beaters are in the mix too, trying to throw the Bludgers around at the opposing team. If the Bludgers hit someone, they must walk back to the hoops on their side, touch it, and remount their brooms. Any player who has a ball while hit with a Bludger must drop the ball.
Lastly, there is a noteworthy rule about team composition. Since quidditch is a very inclusive game, no more than four players who identify as the same gender can be on the team. This allows for varied team compositions and for a more egalitarian approach to play.
5. What’s next?
Those are the absolute basics you need to know if you’re interested in giving Quidditch a try. We at Sevenpie are very impressed at just how much ingenuity has gone into bringing the game off the pages of Harry Potter and into real life.
The game is quite physically demanding but with a little practice and a lot of enthusiasm, you can ‘fly’ high with the best of them soon!
If you want to learn more about our local team or how to get into the sport locally, you can find Sevenpie’s interview with them here.
Header Image Source: UCLA